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A new twist on pasta dough could reshape food manufacturing

Mighty morphing power … pastas? They might not be as action-packed as Power Rangers, but a new type of programmable dough could make packing pasta a whole lot easier, according to a new study in Science Advances.

Bulky pastas—such as farfalle and fusilli—require more packaging than thinner varieties like angel hair, making them trickier to transport and leading to more waste. Scientists tackled the problem by designing flat pastas that can transform into 3D shapes. They scored flat dough made of semolina flour—a core ingredient of Italian cuisine—with grooves, whose depth and spacing determined how the pasta would form when boiled. Then, they fed their data into computer models, which could eventually automate the technique and make it easier for food manufacturers to produce and deliver a loaded menu of morphing pastas.

The researchers captured their versatile culinary creations and delicious results on camera. Just don’t look at them on an empty stomach.